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06/01/07 9:26 AM ET
Beavan brings competitive flair to Draft
Texas high school flamethrower ready to take next step
By Drew Davison / MLB.com
Ever since he was born, Blake Beavan knew how to compete. With two brothers, 13 and 11 years older, Beavan had no other option. "He was roughed up and made tough early," his mother, Michele, said. "His two brothers were very instrumental in his love of sports so quickly." Especially with baseball. Both brothers played college baseball, but neither experienced what the youngest sibling, a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher, will on June 7 as a projected first-round selection in the upcoming First-Year Player Draft. The 18-year-old Beavan, from Irving, Texas, is near the top of several teams' draft boards because of his ability to compete, especially in pressure situations. Beavan's summer coach, Linty Ingram of the Dallas Tigers, remembers a junior Olympic tournament in Arizona when a 16-year-old Beavan showcased his desire. Beavan had thrown 80 pitches two days earlier, and the team was in a pitching bind to get the final two outs in the following game. "Blake says, 'Coach, I can get [the No. 3 and 4 hitters] out," said Ingram, who's coached Beavan the past six seasons. "Then, he threw six pitches, all strikes, all over 90 [mph], and it's the hardest he'd thrown to that point. "In pressure situations, he can always find another gear. That's something you can't teach. That comes from within." Beavan showed that inner toughness again when he threw a complete-game shutout for the U.S. junior national team against Cuba in the 2006 World Junior Championship. "It was a very hostile environment," Beavan said. "That is where I grew up a lot as a baseball player and as a person, by playing for an Olympic team. It was definitely the best competition I've faced." Beavan continued his pitching dominance in his final season with Irving High School this past spring. He threw 66 innings, with an eye-catching 124 strikeouts and 0.23 ERA. Beavan has good command with his fastball, which topped out at 98 mph during a playoff game earlier this spring, and consistently hits 94 mph on the radar gun. Beavan throws a slider and changeup as well.
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"On the slider, I need it not to hang all the time," he said. "Because if you hang it, a lot those guys [in the Minors] will put it out of the park. "But, most of my work is on my changeup. It's a hard pitch to master." Beavan is the most highly touted pitcher from the area since Kerry Wood, who was drafted in 1995 out of MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. Most comparisons for Beavan, however, are to Randy Johnson. "[Johnson] reminds me of myself -- on the other side," the 213-pound Beavan said. The other pitcher Beavan admires is fellow Texan Roger Clemens. "I like his work ethic," Beavan said. "He's still making people look goofy at 44." Beavan made several high school players look goofy, and sometimes his emotions rubbed people the wrong way. During his junior year, he would make a 'K' sign by sliding his thumb between his pointer and middle finger after every strike out. "That was something for my team," said Beavan, who has since stopped doing it. "We didn't have players that took it as seriously as me, so it was something that got them pumped up to play. "But now, I pitch my game. I don't take anything for granted and have no mercy. I just need my team to get a couple of hits, some runs on the board, and I'll take it from there." Off the baseball field, Beavan likes to hunt, fish and golf with his friends. "Pretty much, I like to do what country, well, I should say what Texas boys like to do," he said chuckling. Beavan would like nothing more than to end up with his hometown team, the Texas Rangers -- who have the 17th and 24th overall picks. "If I'm still there, the Rangers would be nice. They've told me they're going to try and get me," Beavan said. "But, whoever it is, it'll feel great. It's like a dream come true." Once Beavan signs his first professional contract, he already has his first purchase in mind. "It will be a black [Cadillac] Escalade EXT truck," he said. "I'm going to deck it out. It's gonna be pimpin'."
Top MLB Draft Picks
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.